The past few years, I have thought a lot about my faith, and how I demonstrate my faith to others. If you know me, you probably would know that I am not the kind of person to just walk up to someone and hit them over the head with my Study Bible or criticize people who fail to fall in line with exactly what I believe. We were not called as Christians to do that, and yet, that is the impression many people have of Christianity. Maybe this is why many in our society feel like Christians are hypocrites and that Christianity is irrelevant in modern society.
Jesus said to his disciples, "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35 NLT). I think Jesus is bluntly trying to tell us that the world does not need another charity or social program. The world needs Christians who are willing to roll their sleeves up and get to know people and get involved in the messy work of loving others who are not exactly like us. God is love, and when we love others, we plant a seed and invite others to have a relationship with him. Then it is up to us to keep on loving and praying that seed will take root in that person's life. We do this all while serving others out of love for them. When we get to know others and serve them out of our love, we gain credibility as Christians. This demonstrates God's love, and sharing that love is the heart of what Christianity is all about.
One of my favorite passages is 1 Corinthians 13, which is known as the Love Chapter. To me, the basic message is that our talents and gifts are useless, unless we use them in a loving way to help others. Without love, our talents and words are just another annoying noise amid the chaos of life. Our talents and skills will fail or become unnecessary, but love is always needed and is eternal. The chapter goes on to say love never fails.
When we begin to understand how much God loves us, and what that love cost him, we will be willing to serve and sacrifice ourselves and possessions for others. We will want others to have that same kind of relationship with God and will do whatever is necessary to steer others toward God. I think this is the measuring stick that Jesus wants us to use to evaluate our lives..the way we love and how we comprehend God's love for us.